Genesseo – The Greatest Show on Turf 2011
Genesseo bills it’s self as the “Greatest Show on Turf” and is located in upstate New York just south of Rochester. I’ve made enough trips to the show to say it’s a good one. When you talk to the locals, they simply don’t understand that their airshow is one of the biggest and oldest warbird shows in the country. This show is the annual fundraiser for the 1941 Historical Air Group (yup, commonly known as HAG) and their museum is located on a farm just outside of this small college town. The runway is turf and the background are trees (this year there was a lot of corn planted in the background), parking is excellent and there isn’t much of a walk to the flightline.
This year, there was a lot of rain in the weeks before the show and there was a good bit of standing water on the field. There were rumors that the show may well cancel because of water. We got there on Thursday and the weather was pretty good. It went to almost perfect on Saturday and Sunday, resulting in some of the best weather for this event in recent years.
While the show started out as a warbird event many years back, it’s diversified to a very well-rounded, low-keyed show. Really there were so many performers and types of aircraft, it’s hard to list them all, it’s better to simply show the pictures.
Warbirds ranged from liaison aircraft (mostly L-16 “Champs”) to the F-16. Acro demos went from a rare 1941 Interstate Cadet to a P-51C. Air drops are relatively rare at shows and here was the NY ANG’s ski equipped C-130 dropping a pallet on the runway and the HAG’s own C-47 “Whiskey 7” doing a static line jump of several WWII dressed paratroopers. There were modern high performance acro routines flown and Kent Peitsch in the Kelly Belly Interstate Cadet. There was a mock WWI dogfight with replica fighters (including an accidental loss of a Fokker Triplane), and a slightly more modern Jungmeister put on a show. An F-16 Viper put on a demo as did a P-51 and a L-39. A total of 4 P-51s arrived for the show to escort “The Memphis Belle” into the skies. The Commemorative Air Force brought the “red” P-51s, the original “Red Nose” and the P-51C “Red Tail” as well as the Helldiver and the Dauntless. There was not a lack of flying aircraft at the show.
Photography opportunities were unlimited. The combination of perfect weather, a grass runway, and idea background about insured that all photos taken looked good. Rides were available in a variety of aircraft. My son Greg managed to get a ride in the CAF’s P-51C Red Tail with Doug Rozendaal, for his first Mustang ride. He thought it was well worth the price (and of course it ended up on my credit card), of course it ended up as a video on YouTube too. I tried to get Christian Koch to give me a shot at flying a US Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter (I’m a very good helicopter pilot), but he mentioned something about prison time, so that idea got shelved. With any luck he can demonstrate the capabilities of the Blackhawk and his superior flying skills next year. That would be a really interesting addition to the show since helicopter demonstrations are pretty rare too.
The show was well choreographed and flying was continuous without any significant breaks. The show was a success, the weather was nice, and a good time was had by all.
You can contact the author, Mark Hrutkay, at TNMark@Me.Com .
Photos by Mark Hrutkay and Greg Hrutkay.
For Greg’s P-51 ride video.